Happy Holidays 2015

What’s better than Christmas?

Christmas AND Star Wars!

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly know Star Wars Episode VII is premiering right on the heels of Christmas. I wouldn’t dare fight the crowds to see it opening night. I also heard some theaters will be having a marathon, showing all 6 films back to back right before debuting Episode 7. I can only imagine…sitting in a crowded theater with hundreds of complete strangers for that long? I hope everyone wears deodorant. 🙂

So, (as of this post) it’s mid-month, and my family still hadn’t sent out Christmas cards. I figured why not combine Star Wars with Christmas, and have a themed card this year?

My son has sat down and watched all 6 films, 6 seasons of The Clone Wars, and is now watching the current series, Star Wars Rebels…because, well, to immerse your child in the Star Wars Universe is just good parenting. 😉 I think his favorite is the Clone Wars, and out of all possible characters, his favorite is Captain Rex (followed by Anakin and Ahsoka). For a cartoon (computer generated) series, it is actually quite good, and if you haven’t seen it yet because it’s a cartoon series, give it a shot. Great storyline and characters. It was a great treat for my wife, my son, and myself to sit down to a few episodes every night.

So back to our Christmas card. I wanted a Star Wars theme…

I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do.

I set a flash in front of the tree, and my wife sat my son in front of the flash with his Jedi robe on. I wanted the flash to sort of give him an outline of light. I also put a flash on a lightstand with a grid, and pointed it down towards him to give some light on his back so it wouldn’t be a silhouette.

Well, in doing so, he was lit, but the tree was nearly black. I added two more speedlites, one on each side to kick a little light on the tree as well. The lighting diagram below details my setup. My camera was the Fuji XT-1 with 56mm lens @ f/5.6, ISO 320, 1/60th shutter speed.

star wars diagram

One of these days I really need to sit down and learn Photoshop. For the photos I take, Lightroom is my go to for 99% of my shots. But it seems when it comes to holidays, I always have to use Photoshop for something, and this year’s Christmas card was no exception.

A photo of my son sitting in front of a Christmas tree with his Jedi robe on is cute…but what’s the significance? What’s the point? I needed to add a little oomph…

I did my initial tweaks in Lightroom, which wasn’t much, just a little tweak in exposure and sharpness.

Once I pulled the photo into Photoshop, I got a little carried away. I added floating ornaments, so it would look like my son was using the Force to decorate the tree. I thought the bare wall behind and around the tree was rather dull, so let’s go ahead and throw a field of stars. Wait…the field of stars is fine and dandy, but looks a little…empty. Let’s toss the Millennium Falcon, a Tie Fighter, an X-Wing, a Star Destroyer, and the Death Star into the mix. They can have a space battle! And what’s a Jedi without his trusty lightsaber?

Overall, this was actually a pretty easy little project. The photoshoot was fairly quick, and once I figured out what I wanted to do with the photo afterward came on pretty smoothly. I wish I would have had more time to play with it, but I’m a procrastinator (runs in the family). As my wife tells me, our best work is done at the last minute lol.

It has been a busy year, and I expect next year to be no different. I am thankful for my wife and son. I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect for a Christmas gift this year.

I hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday season, with warm wishes for a prosperous New Year.

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